Third-quarter surge sparks Cascades women’s hoopsters past Vikes

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team picked up its first victory of the preseason, defeating the Victoria Vikes 72-60 at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Friday.

Taylor Claggett posted 13 points in the Cascades’ win over UVic on Friday.

The visiting Vikes led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but the Cascades battled back to draw even, then accelerated on an 11-0 run early in the third quarter to seize control. The hosts led by double digits for most of the fourth quarter.

The two teams clash again on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the EFAC.

“I thought we started a little slow tonight – UVic really came out and dictated the physicality and pace of the game,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “But we responded to that, and I thought that was good. We made some adjustments to how we were approaching the game more than anything, and I thought we got a little bit tougher today. It was a good learning experience for our team, for sure.”

Shayna Litman excelled for the Cascades, racking up a game-high 23 points. Fellow starters Taylor Claggett (13 points, six rebounds) and Amanda Thompson (12 points) also scored in double figures, and rookie forward Katelyn Mallette came off the bench to post 10 points (3-of-3 from the field, 4-of-5 from the free throw line) and five boards.

The Vikes’ Amira Giannattasio counted a trio of three-pointers among her team-best 19 points, and Kristy Gallagher scored 12.

The Cascades’ big third-quarter run was the turning point, and Tuchscherer was pleased with how his team responded after halftime.

“We’re still at the point where we’re learning about our team, and coming out of halftime . . . are you going to be a team that’s ready to go, or are you going to be a team that’s a little slow coming out of the gate?” he said. “We’re learning what our identity is a little bit, so it was really nice to see us come out of halftime with some energy and get after it.

– with files from Adam Hutchison, UFV Athletics communications assistant

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